Blazers pick skilled forward 19th overall at WHL's bantam draft
The Kamloops Blazers went to the Prairies for their first-round pick in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft, held in Calgary on Thursday, May 3.
Centre Jayden Halbgewachs, 15, of Emerald Park, Sask., was selected 19th overall by the Blazers.
"He is an exceptional player that we did not expect to be available at 19th overall," Blazers' director of player personnel Matt Recchi said.
"Jayden is a dynamic player who can score at will. His vision, skating and determination are all assets that we covet in a player.”
Halbgewachs registered 55 goals and 89 points in 24 games last season with the Prairie Storm of the Saskatchewan Bantam AA Hockey League.
He is a tad taller than 5-foot-6 and weighs about 150 pounds.
Kamloops traded up to select River City product Nicholas Chyzowski, a 5-foot-10, 160-pound centre in the second round.
"I watched him down the stretch in playoff games and double-overtime games," Recchi said.
"When the game was on the line he scored big goals."
The Blazers traded their second-round pick in the 2013 bantam draft and a fourth-round pick in this year's draft to the Edmonton Oil Kings in exchange for the 44th overall pick.
Chyzowski played last season with the bantam AAA Kamloops Jardine's Blazers, racking up 41 goals and 83 points in 49 games to lead the team in scoring.
"After taking a smaller forward, we wanted to get some size and we wanted to get some size that could actually play the games as well," Recchi said.
Dave Chyzowski, Nicholas's father, is the Blazers' director of sales and marketing.
Kamloops selected Cameron Reagan, a 5-foot-11, 167-pound defenceman from Sherwood Park, Alta., with the 77th overall pick in Round 4.
"He's a real good steady defenceman," Recchi said of Reagan.
"He moves the puck very, very well. He runs the power play. He is a guy that's not afraid to play a physical shutdown type of game plus he can add some offence as well."
All of the Blazers' draft picks have plenty of work to do before they reach the WHL ranks.
"These players have to continue to improve their whole game," Recchi said.
"There's no real one thing that they need to improve on. They have to get better every day and in the gym they have to get stronger."
The Blazers next two picks came in the sixth round. Goaltender Cole Kehler was selected 123rd overall, while forward Charlie Gawlicki was chosen with the 129th overall pick.
In the seventh round, defenceman Calen Whitworth was selected 151st overall. In the eighth round, forward Josh Stang was chosen 173rd overall.
Kamloops traded its ninth-round round pick in 2013 to Red Deer for the Rebels' 2012 ninth-round pick, which the Blazers used to draft centre Tyler Jeanson at 184th overal.
In the final pick of the ninth round, Kamloops selected defenceman Mitchell Brennan at 195th overall.
The Blazers rounded out their 2012 draft by choosing Larime Kostelansky at 209th overall.